A year later she told ANN FOTHERINGHAM how she battled through with the support of her family – and her essential beauty routine...
AS she prepares to celebrate her 60th birthday this month, Ann Jones is the picture of glamorous good health.
But just over a year ago, she was fighting for her life.
In September last year Ann, who is from Lanark, was diagnosed with an aggressive form of stomach cancer. Doctors gave her only a 20% chance of survival.
"I had no idea I was so unwell," she explains.
"I was washing the kitchen floor, and next minute, I was wearing it.
"I just collapsed. I was in hospital all weekend for blood tests and on the Monday, they told me what was wrong."
The shock was all the greater because the family had already faced a cancer battle.
Ann's husband Alistair survived bowel cancer 10 years ago.
"We could not believe it was happening to us again," adds Ann.
"It becomes about self-preservation – about doing what you can to get through it."
Doctors planned to give Ann chemotherapy for six months before surgery to remove her stomach but the tumour grew so quickly that she was rushed into hospital for an emergency gastrectomy just before Christmas last year.
"I was very poorly," she admits.
"I remember the doctors saying it would take me a full year to start feeling well again and they were right.
"The chemotherapy made me quite sick, and I lost all my hair, my eyelashes, my eyebrows and my nails."
Despite how ill she felt throughout her treatment, Ann was determined to keep up her beauty regime.
"I wholeheartedly followed the philosophy of 'if you look good, you can feel better'," she smiles. "I have always got up, got showered, done my hair and put on my make-up – I never feel right if I go out without my make-up."
Her daughter, Lorraine Mason, explains: "My mum has always loved doing her hair and putting her make up on.
"She always kept a brave face on things, no matter how bad she felt.
"She has been such an inspiration throughout her illness – she has a good fighting spirit."
Cancer charity Macmillan, in partnership with No7 and Boots, offers a make up and skincare advice service for women affected by cancer.
No7 beauty advisor Sam Grieve, who will be supporting the Girls Day Out event at the SECC this weekend, from today until Sunday , by offering feel-good advice to women, believes the service is invaluable to those experiencing the visible side effects of cancer treatment.
"Customers affected by cancer are no different to the other ladies we see at the counter, of course, but they may be facing challenging side effects from treatment and may be looking for specific advice which we are now equipped to offer," she explains.
"Just one tiny make-up trick can make a profound difference to a woman's look and how she feels about herself.
"Women who are having cancer treatment need simple, quick fixes for very specific problems.
"Since our training we have had ladies coming to the No7 counter asking for advice on covering up red skin or pencilling-in eyebrows, and they are delighted that we are prepared to take time out to teach them the skills they need."
For Ann and her family, some sense of normality is finally returning to their lives.
"It has been an awful time for the whole family, but I do finally feel better," says Ann, who is a nurse. "I tried to stay positive and set myself goals, and one of the biggest was to get back to work.
"I didn't want to have to finish my career this way.
"And a couple of weeks ago, I made it back. Everyone has been so supportive and helpful.
"Finally, I feel like I can look forward to having a much happier Christmas this year than last."
The three-day pamper and preen Girls' Day Out event will showcase the latest trends and offer spectacular make-overs.
Early birds who purchase their tickets in advance each receive a Boots goodie bag with £30 and Boots vouchers with £10 (minimum spend applies).
Adult tickets start from £12.
For tickets and further information visit www.girlsdayoutshow.co.uk
For more information about Macmillan call 0808 0808 0000 or visit www.macmillan.org.uk